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Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton Hardcover – June 8, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gertz was one of the New York Times investigative reporters who started poking around the Whitewater case, but that doesn't mean readers should expect any four-alarm scandals from this unauthorized biography. Even with never-before-seen material from sources like White House counsel Vince Foster's notebooks, the worst Gertz and Van Natta (First Off the Tee) can say about Senator Clinton is that she may have padded her fees as a corporate lawyer and is lax about the required paperwork for hiring staff advisors. Their primary contention about Clinton-that she's a "meticulous architect of her persona" with "an almost scientific devotion to self-creation" and an unwillingness to admit to her mistakes-is hardly news, although a ballyhooed "secret pact," in which she and Bill planned from the earliest days of their marriage to maneuver him into the White House, may raise eyebrows. The profile in ambition is rich in anecdote, spending far more time on Clinton's Senate career than Carl Bernstein's bio. Far from a conservative hit job, their reportage tends to focus on public reaction to Clinton rather than to her politics, with the notable exception of her 2002 vote to support George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, including her vocal support of the theory that Saddam Hussein supported Al Qaeda, and her subsequent attempts to reinvent herself as an anti-war presidential candidate without refuting her previous position. The analysis of the early stages of her presidential campaign is somewhat hurried by necessity, but effectively supplements the balanced character study. Though they face stiff competition, Gertz and Van Natta's version of events is poised to gain traction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Since New York Times reporters Gerth and Van Natta's book on Hillary Clinton appears only a few weeks after Carl Bernstein's A Woman in Charge, it is difficult to review the new entry without comparing it to what came before. When put side by side, this book is the far inferior work. One reason why can be found in the authors' notes. Although Clinton was not interviewed for either work, Bernstein clearly had access to friends and family, which makes his book far richer. For instance, he takes several chapters to chronicle Hillary's formative years and includes an array of insightful quotes and commentary that helps explain what shaped her. Gerth and Van Natta wrap up the early years more quickly, using virtually nothing beyond familiar incidents and material from Clinton's autobiography. In later chapters, Her Way relies heavily on information from Kenneth Starr and others from the Office of the Independent Counsel, all of whom clearly still have an ax to grind, slanting the material. One of the "scoops" of this book is the (flimsily sourced) news that the Clintons made a pact decades ago that both would have eight-year presidential terms, making Hillary seem even more calculating than usual. In the final pages, the authors do admit that their subject has strength of will, but their tone, and most of what comes before, makes even this seem like an undesirable characteristic. Cooper, Ilene

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (June 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316017426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316017428
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Cary on June 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a Hillary devotees, you'll give this book 1 Star -- it doesn't fawn over her enough, and convincingly reveals some character flaws.

If you're a Hillary hater, you'll give this book 1 Star -- it doesn't protray her as evil.

In short--the writers don't appear to have an ax to grind. A seemingly unbiased biography. What a rare thing these days for a political figure!

If you're just trying to understand the person, you'll give it 3-4 Stars cause it's a valiant effort in that direction that leaves the reader with more questions than insight to her character. They leave the reader to draw their own conclusions, without bias, it seems to me.

Her husband (or, better, political-business partner), speaking of their relationship said, "The tapestry of our marriage is deep, colorful, and well-woven--and nobody will tear it asunder." Gerth and Van Natta weave a tapestry of a public persona here that is inegmatic, controversial, and well-publicized--and there's no decoder ring offered to figure it out.

The question the reader is left with is this: Just what is the core driving ethos of this person? Is it too deep to fathom, or merely as shallow as raw ambition for power? The people who think they know the answer to that question are the ones with 1 Star.
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Format: Hardcover
I normally do not read biographies of living people. However, I have been interested in Hillary Rodham Clinton since she came onto the national stage as the wife of a presidential candidate and then as First Lady and Senator. So, it was with great anticipation that I began reading.

Unfortunately, I found the book to be less than I had hoped for. It reads like a college research paper or perhaps a textbook study. Nearly every paragraph is footnoted, some two or three times. This does lend credibility to an unauthorized biography that was written without actually interviewing the subject matter, but it also makes the writing feel choppy and disconnected. To me it seemed as if statements were cobbled together with little regard to the final flow. It is also quite clear that the authors are not fans of Hillary Clinton.

The book basically begins in 1970 when Hillary Rodham was a student at Yale Law School. Approximate three pages summarize her life prior to that time--with a few other paragraphs focusing on her undergrad years at Wellesley College. What I found most disappointing in the early sections of the book was the lack of any new information. A great deal of space was spent rehashing the Whitewater investigation that was carried on while the Clintons were in the White House. There is also a further rehashing of Bill Clinton's sexual infidelities. I felt both of those issues have been covered many times over and that nothing new was added in this book.

The final third of the book, as it moves into the areas of Hillary Clinton's Senate participation, and her preparation to run for President, are much more interesting than the first sections. While the biases of the authors are still evident, the material has a freshness that is lacking in the beginning.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this nonfiction novel. I believe Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. have put together a well-researched and unbiased book that accurately describes Hillary Clinton's life and possible future accomplishments. While others have criticized this novel as an attack on Hillary Clinton, I came away quite impressed with all of the struggles she has overcome and her steadfast determination to do what she believes is the right thing to do. Granted she does change her mind quite a bit concerning what is right and what is wrong.

I learned a great deal about Hillary's personality and the people she surrounds herself with; I was fascinated by the loyalty of her friends and colleagues. I believe Mrs. Clinton to be a smart, confident, determined, and experienced leader. I don't agree with most of her political beliefs. This book proves she can be abrasive, overconfident, and overly defensive when she doesn't need to be.

The events, opinions, and fact-finding work throughout this book were nothing short of brilliant. Anyone who wants to learn as much as they can about this possible next president of the United States must have "Her Way" on their reading list.

From growing up in Illinois (right next to where my Mom worked), to her days in Arkansas, and her eight years in the White House as first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton has led an amazing and complicated life. And she has indeed done things "her way."

Again, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from the first page to the last page. So be sure to check out this fantastic piece of literary work as soon as possible. You won't be sorry!

Remember, this review is coming from a Conservative-Christian-Ronald-Reagan-Republican who thought he would never have much good to say about a woman on the LEFT. This book has indeed taught me that there is more to Hillary Clinton than I gave her credit for.

See ya next review.
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Format: Hardcover
Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta are investigative reporters on the staff of the New York Times. In Her Way, they have scrupulously researched the life of Hillary Clinton and produced a fair and balanced account of her life (or at least as fair and balanced an account as one can produce without the cooperation of its subject, as the authors disclose in a foreword to their work).

Gerth and Van Natta have dug deep (down to examining Senator Clinton's home building permits in the context of her practice of energy efficiency) and have penned an extremely worthwhile volume. Hillary Clinton emerges as highly disciplined, ambitious and tough. (Should she win her race for the White House, toughness will not be an issue.) The picture of Hillary as a young girl is moving and gallant-- as a 13 year old, she challenges voter fraud in the 1960 presidential election, weighing in on the side of her father's Republican Party, and she campaigns ardently for "the Presidency" of her high school class, winning admiration despite her defeat by a male classmate.

Clinton's flaws are also depicted forthrightly by Gerth and Van Natta. She sometimes fails to conduct crucial research, with unfortunate results (a botched Arkansas trial is cited, as is her failure to read the full National Intelligence Estimate on the question of weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections in Saddam Hussein's Iraq).
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